The Old Faith VS Works Debate
This subject has been debated endlessly by Witnesses confronting
"Born-Agains". Fundamentalists quote texts about salvation
by faith and Witnesses counter with James' statements about
I am inclined to ignore the competing (or contradictory )
scriptures and simply look at the results of each approach.
Yes, Witnesses count up lots of hours spent in the "ministry"
selling books and magazines door-to-door. After years of being
a pioneer and an elder I don't find these statistics credible.
More than that, compare the growth rates of Witnesses with
many groups like Pentecostals, Mormons, and others. The guilt-
enforced door to door work just isn't very effective - compared
with the simple word of mouth zeal found in various Protestant
Other activities that are Christian "works" amoung Witnesses
don't look too great either. I knew some brothers who
organized witnessing in institutions like prisons or old-age
homes. Getting brothers to volunteer to visit and help was like
pulling teeth! They always found something else to do, even
if bible studies could be had just for asking. MEANWHILE,
the local fundies had no shortage of people willing to get
involved, week after week - often from different churches!
I actually think they did it because it made THEM HAPPY!
As for other works like helping with the chronically ill,
or charity, let's not even go there. "I have to go out in
service" is enough of an excuse for any elder to avoid
burdensome widows and orphans. Remember that these charitable
activities LITERALLY DON'T COUNT - you can't put them on your
service slip at the end of the month. In many cases, the
system simply works against good works this way. I think the
"born-agains" are better off with their own faith and joy
as motivations, however flawed that may be.
This has always bothered me about the witnesses.
The witnesses say James, James, James and yet do
not take to heart what he wrote. Nothing at all about
preaching; everything is about love and helping those
who can't help themselves. The cry from the other sheep
is what do you want us to do? Only god can solve these
problems, what a cop out-of course they are just following
the example of there sheperd the GB. I'm sure the man
who can't feed his family really needs that watchtower
in his hand instead of a box of macaroni. In reality that
box of food is know more expensive than the magazine
he's never gonna read. Sorry no macaroni colume on
field service report. Everything about this organization
disgusts me. There is no humanity in it and there hasn't
been since Russell died. So thanks for the post I to believe
that someone who's born-again will go much further out
of there way to help"one of the least of these my brothers "
than a witness anyday anytime and that is said is it not.
Peace and Love-Mark
I have thought about the subject of faith and works a lot. It seems to me that if someone has faith and love for something, then works naturaly follow. Unfortunately, the JWs are allowed only one outlet as an expression of their devotion to the exclusion of all others. The extraverts may like the outlet of door to door ministry, but many others don't. It is too bad that they don't allow those who want to visit the sick or elderly to get "credit" for it.
We all have our unique contributions we can make, and it is a joy to make a contribution that springs from our natural talents. Unfortunately, as everyone here knows there is no room for individual expression or unique contribution in the organization, which I think, is a reason for the lack of the real joy of giving.
I am retired, and I helping a young man in my profession get a good start in his career. In the process, we are also contributing some research which could be very meaningful to other people in our field. If the research turns out the way I think it will, it could have important implications for our understanding of how to properly evaluate people's worth and contribution in the work place. Taken to its limit, it could effect Federal Law. Am I doing any of this to meet a quota? Was I told to do it? Of course not. I am doing it because I can, and because I love what I am doing. Did I do well in the door to door work? Not really. Was I good at giving the public talk? I was average. Am I good in my special area of interest? Yes, I am very good. I can't play the guitar like TR. I can't paint like Seven. I can't train horses like RedHorseWoman, or run a business like Waiting and her husband, but I have a unique skill and love it. We all have different, unique contributions to make, and we all make the world a better place by using them.
Sorry, I was rambling there. I guess my point is that faith, love, and contribution should spring from our own abilities, as we are able to make a difference.
Tastes great, less filling.
I think Larc pretty much summed it up, the works flows naturally. I think the problem comes in when people think in terms of earning salvation, earning the love of others whether they realize it or not. "Lord, lord, did we not put in many field service hours in your name, conduct bible studies in your name, and disfellowship many basically good hearted people in your name?" So I agree with you Metatron, in a way the faith of those born-again's is more genuine, because ultimately love has to be the motivation.
Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation, that He exists.
…what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth…
To begin with, the following are possible:
· Loss of family and friends due to a WTBTS enforced manufactured social stigma during and after association.
· Missed life style opportunities because of focusing an inordinate amount of attention sacrificing ones self for a notoriously aloof but extremely prosperous WTBTS corporation.
· Facing the horror that you encouraged family, friends and other human beings to conceivably suffer pre-mature loss of life by following questionable WTBTS dogma.
· Suffering the effects of negative psychoses when everything the WTBTS taught is taken literally.
· Frustration felt when you suddenly realize you gambled a significant portion of your life playing with the WTBTS only to discover “you’re” the “patsy” and the WTBTS is laughing all the way to the bank with your “chips”.
You may say that you weren’t including the WTBTS, Big Jim, but to a Jehovah’s Witness they quote the same as you, only they don’t speak a distinction until it’s too late to leave with honor.